Interview with Moke Ame
Moke Ame is a Canadian songwriter based in Berlin with a background in both modern and classical singing.
Sophia: How did you become a singer/composer?
Moke: I guess I just decided to at some point! I have always loved singing and writing for as long as I can remember, but only recently have I decided to take it from just being a hobby to being something I pursue as a career.
Sophia: Which song do you like singing at concerts the most?
Moke: Well it sort of depends on how I am feeling, but in general I enjoy performing Puppy Doll as there are a lot of powerful emotions and dry remarks to act out. It almost feels like I am putting on a play. I also love performing Before they Hatch, simply because it feels like one of my mostly well rounded songs both lyrically and melody-wise.
Sophia: Can you tell us about your musical role models?
Moke: My top three musical role models (in no particular order) would have to be Mitski, Melanie Martinez and Taylor Swift. I really admire the raw emotion of these artists, as well as the story telling in their lyrics. From a more career driven perspective, I also find the work ethic of these three ambitious women to be very inspiring.
Sophia: How does it feel to sing on stage in front of many people?
Moke: A little bit terrifying but exhilarating overall. I love the feeling of live performance, it is unmatched, absolutely thrilling. It is wonderful to see the reactions and hear the sounds of a live audience. When I perform live, I believe we are both witnessing and creating something new together.
Sophia: Is there a special place where you like to sing?
Moke: At first I did not think I had an answer to this question but upon further reflection I actually do. I love to sing around a campfire. This is not something that I have done in quite a long time, but when I was younger my family would often make me sing around the fire while my cousin played guitar. It would terrify me at the time with all my family watching and listening, but I look back on these memories very fondly. Many of my songs have themes of nostalgia and homesickness; I love to reference the Rockies, lakes, forests and other remnants of my early childhood that I miss so dearly. I suppose it is only appropriate that my favourite place to sing would be around a campfire or surrounded by a thick wall of evergreens. A more accessible place would be in one of the Berlin Open Mics, the folk music community here is unmatched. Lovely.
Sophia: Where did you start your career?
Moke: Well the first time I performed my own music in front of an audience was when I was attending high school in Belgium. I performed first for a few grade 1 and grade 4 classes in my mum’s library, then at a couple school events. On that note, I really recommend performing for young children as a first step, they are so encouraging and full of love.
Sophia: Have you always wanted to become a singer/composer?
Moke: In my heart of hearts, yes. There have been many moments where I have not felt that it is a possible career choice for me, particularly concerning my instrumental capabilities. However, it has always been my dream to make music professionally.
Sophia: What are your future goals as a singer/composer?
Moke: To try my hands in as many different genres and styles as possible! I love collaborating with other people and I hope to be able to work and play in as many fields as I can. Currently, I mostly have experience with alternative folk and a bit of electronic pop, but I want to try everything!
Sophia: Do you have any rituals that you do before having a show?
Moke: Oh la la. I should. Technically, it is super important to warm-up before a performance, and I do, but I am not very good at it. I cannot say that I have any set ritual for warming up as I am writing this response, but hopefully I will be a warm-up master by the 26th of October. I have recently started bringing a little plush fox with me to performances so I always know I have a familiar face in the audience but I feel this is less of a ritual and more like carrying a talisman. The fox’s name is Ranger, she is very cute but full of rage.
Sophia: Is there anyone you are thankful for the experience you had?
Moke: My family for sure. Living in Berlin I have met so many people in the music and film industry who had to go against their families’ wishes to do what they love, so I feel very grateful to have a family that fully supports my pursuit of a musical career. I am also thankful for all of my friends in Berlin who have shown up to my little performances and helped me get more involved in the music community.
Sophia: What’s your favourite song?
Moke: Aye, the world’s hardest question. This year I have been obsessed with the song’s A&W by Lana Del Rey and I Go Hungry by Mother Mother. They are the kind of songs that just really get it, like on a psychological level. Also they slap, 10/10 recommend. Any song on Melanie Martinez’s latest album, Portals, is also my favourite. This album makes me absolutely feral. A masterpiece. Of my own songs, my current favourite is An Avalanche, A Landslide.
Sophia: With whom did you work with?
Moke: I am so lucky to have many musician friends and so we collaborate sometimes. I have had friends help me produce some of my own stuff, and I have also given samples of my voice to friends for experimental or techno tracks. I have collaborated the most with my friends Hari and Ashley (their band is …on Soundcloud), and my friend Philippe (Monsieur Philippe on Soundcloud). This year I will be collaborating with many many more people through my school.
Sophia: What was your first song?
Moke: Technically, I wrote my first song when I was eight but understandably this is not something I would ever perform. The first song I ever named and recorded was called Parasitic, and I wrote this when I was 14 I believe. It was not amazing but you have to start somewhere ahaha. That being said, I wrote a song around the same time called Forest Eyes which I still occasionally play to this day.